Monday, September 26, 2016

ACTUAL SHIT GERRY HAS SAID (or done) AS A CLERK

In the late 1980's, I worked at the Stafford Courthouse Seven-Eleven, in Virginia. I loved working the graveyard shift, because the most interesting people came in.

One night, just before midnight, I had a 16 year old kid and about four of his friends roll in, and they grabbed some sodas and come to the counter. He took the lead as first in line, plopping two sodas down on the counter in front of me. I smiled and asked him, "will that be all?"

He replied politely, "No. I'd like to get a pack of condoms."

I turned toward the rack we had behind the counter, and asked, "Any preference?"

He looked a bit sheepish, but replied with, "What's the largest ones you got?"

His friends started laughing. He turned and smacked one in the chest, and told them, "Knock it off, man."

Well, to say the least, I was amused by the request. So I felt a need to take this a bit further, and said, "Well a popular large condom are called Magnums. But, if you're really packing, you might want the Hefty Man brand."

The kid said, "Okay. I'll take those." I reached down bellow the counter, and grabbed them and brought the "Hefty Man brand" up and dropped it on the counter, in front of the kid.

He and his friends all had this weird look on their faces, as they looked at the large roll of what was actually just a roll of black Hefty trash bags that we kept behind the counter— for when we needed to change out the coffee station trashcans— so,I quickly bellied up to the register, and said, "That'll be $12.98 for the Hefty Man condoms, plus $1.20 for the sodas. Don't forget to use the built in drawstring to catch and lock-in all your man sauce."

The friends cracked up, and the kid laughed, despite being a bit red in the face.


I then just sold him the Magnums, though he most likely just needed regular size. Well, the word "need" is stretching things a bit.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Veterans Day Special: Bravo 4-10 vs. The Latrine

A Veterans Day Special
Bravo 4-10 vs. The Latrine


In the military we were all trained to improvise and overcome any given situation. I was with Bravo 4-10, back in 1990, and during our weapon's training, we'd been marched for about a half hour or more, out into the middle of Fort-Lost-In-The-Woods, where we actually lost someone who stopped to piss along the way. Because of the risk of the missing soldier accidentally wandering across one of the firing lanes, we were then ordered to sit and wait in the hot Missouri summer sun until they found the missing recruit.

After what seemed an eternity, and with chow and a canteen of water already passed through our systems, we were allowed to use one of the antiquated WW II latrines that had been all but forgotten, out in the middle of the black widow and recluse spider infested Mark Twain National Forest. I believe this old wooden relic, with it's back to back solid row of wooden toilet seats, not individual seats, but one long hollow wooden box with about 20 or more holes cut into the top of each, that dropped our waste into some horrifying toxic mixture down below that we could not see, but only smell. The smell of the place could be picked up almost a click out, and once we saw it, it filled us all with dread. It was old, like something from a Sam Raimi horror film. There were no lights inside, just the sunlight coming through the door and any cracks in the rook that was in great disrepair. If I could compare the odor to anything, it stank of not only old and new shit and urine, but also like death.
People were dry heaving before even entering and everyone was trying to hold their breaths to go in. A few threw up. Those of us in charge, the squad leaders, could see the Drill Sergeants were enjoying this new kind of torture, watching us all with great amusement. I knew it was my moral obligation to share with the guys my improvised solution to the problem. I told my guys to pull out our M40 pro-masks...or as civilians would call them "Gas Masks." We put them on, cleared them and, lead the charge of the second wave going in. once others saw what we were doing, especially those inside, began scrambling to put their masks on as well. 

Suddenly everyone calmed down and were able to navigate the situation with calm.

Of course, being me, I had to announce, "Now all we have to worry about is getting our asses and balls bit by black widows hiding under the seats."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

DECEPTION AND MURDER IN A MIDWEST TOWN

As I recall, I met Gypsy and her mother Dee Dee Blanchard for the first time in 2011, at Visioncon, a popular scifi and comic convention in Springfield, Missouri. I was there to promote my new book for IDW, Code Word: Geronimo. What could I say about them? They were friendly, cordial, Dee was a kind and attentive mother, and Gypsy was a loving elfish, if not more bird like little girl seeminlgy bound to her wheelchair. But, as I and thousands of others who thought they knew this mother and daughter duo, learned today that not all was at it seems. In fact, today, when the Green County Sheriff's commander spoke, he used those exact words to describe the situation that has tragically and most horrifically unfolded over the last several days.

It began for most of us on Sunday, when pple close to Dee Dee and Gypsy had  reported both of them as missing. No one had seen them since the previous Wednesday, June 10th. Then, Sunday afternoon, someone mysteriously posted on Dee's facebook page "The bitch is dead." and an hour later, "The girl's dead too."

Then, after a search of the house, it was reported that Dee Dee's body was found. She'd been brutally stabbed to death in her bed. The mind just went slack. What? This woman, to my knowledge had not one enemy in the world. She was always kind and friendly. What the fuck happened?! I must have wept for an hour, when I saw the news. My daughter sa, in shock herself, and rubbed my back, trying to help her old dad feel better. But, everyone of us who knew them were all terrified of what had become of the young helpless Gypsy. We all feared the worst.


I spoke with my friend, author Shane Moore, a retired, and decorated police detective from Illinois. He spoke the words none of us wanted to, but were all secretly thinking; "What if Gypsy had something to do with her mother's murder? What if she posted those messages on facebook to mislead people and make them think she was dead? Sure, what Shane said comes off as cynical, but, like all of us, he hoped that wasn't the case. He just knew that things weren't adding up.

Then relief came, that Gypsy had been found in Wisconsin, with the young man that law enforcement believed had committed the murder. But, as the hours passed that relief turned to even more horror, as those words Shane had spoke came true. Gypsy was now no longer a rescued daughter but charged with helping murder her own mother.

We also learned that Dee and Gypsy had scammed people for years, that Gypsy was never disabled or bound to a wheelchair at all. She was not as young as we'd been led to believe, either. Not a teen, but a twenty something. She didn't require the oversized glasses that made her look so diminutive. 

Though we are far from knowing or understanding what lead to this calamity. What we do know is that on June 10th, a young man Gypsy had met online, came to get her. Then, according to police, Gypsy handed the young man a knife and told him to kill her mother. And while police collect their evidence, all the rest of us will sit in wonder, shaking our heads, trying to wrap our minds around what has happened, and questioning our ability to know good people when we see them.

In the mean time, I took all the videos of Gypsy and me chatting together over the years while at Visioncon, and I deleted them all today. I want no mementos of her.  Any good memories are tarnished, fractured, unclean.  Because I was one of those people taken in by the facade. Now, I only want to just move on, and let it all go. And who am I? I am no one. Just one more peripheral player, perhaps one voice in the Greek chorus, or more likely just one more member of the audience of this macabre play, who watched a favorite character be turned into a villain. The heart breaks, man. It just breaks, and all you can do is hope something will happen to make it stop hurting. So, I write this blog tonight as a catharsis. Because, as my friend John Del Vecchio said to me once, and I paraphrase, "once you write something down that happened to you. You don't own it anymore. You've let it go."

Here's to letting shit go.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

GALACTOSE CAN KILL


I found the following very interesting.

"You’ve probably heard ads saying that milk is extremely good for you, but is there any truth to this? Trace reveals some evidence that milk might not be all it’s hyped up to be.

Go to http://www.audible.com/dnews to get a FREE Audiobook of your choice when you sign up today.

Read More:
3 Servings of Milk a Day Linked to Higher Mortality in Women
http://www.livescience.com/48503-3-se...
“Drinking three or more glasses of milk per day may be harmful to women's health, a new study suggests.”

Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies
http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g6015
“During a mean follow-up of 20.1 years, 15 541 women died and 17 252 had a fracture, of whom 4259 had a hip fracture. In the male cohort with a mean follow-up of 11.2 years, 10 112 men died and 5066 had a fracture, with 1166 hip fracture cases.”

Heavy milk drinking may double women’s mortality rates
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/h...
“Despite delivering calcium and protein, drinking a lot of milk doesn’t seem to provide a net health benefit for women and may even hinder their long-term survival prospects, Swedish researchers find.”

New study claims milk increases risk of death, cancer - but an expert says the findings are flawed
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style...
“Analyzing more than 61,000 women and 45,000 men, Swedish researchers found that women who drank three or more glasses of milk every day had nearly two times the risk of death and heart disease, and a nearly 44% increased risk of cancer, compared to women who drank less than one glass a day.”

Milk loving Swedes could suffer from high intake
http://www.thelocal.se/20141029/high-...
“It might be time to forget all you have heard about milk increasing your bone strength.”

Milk may be linked to bone fractures and early death
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/10October...
“‘Drinking more than three glasses of milk a day may not protect bones against breaking – and may even lead to higher rates of death,’ the Mail Online reports.”

Famine may have driven evolution of milk tolerance
http://www.uu.se/en/research/news/art...
“Most of us grew up drinking milk. We were told it was the ultimate health drink. It is packed full of nutrients like calcium and other minerals, vitamins, including vitamin D, protein, fat and sugar in the form of lactose.”

Got Milk? You Don’t Need It
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...
“Drinking milk is as American as Mom and apple pie.”

Got Proof? Lack of Evidence for Milk’s Benefits
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark...
“There is no biological requirement for cow's milk. It is nature's perfect food, but only if you are a calf.”

Yes, You Can Still Eat Cheese And Be Healthy. Here’s How
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06...
“We love cheese in all its many iterations. Halloumi, paneer, mozzarella, burrata, cheddar, blue, brie ... the list goes on.”"



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So, this Combat Medic walks into a bar...

As soldiers, we were trained to improvise and overcome obstacles. Here is an example of my own personal experience as a soldier, with improvising and overcoming a given situation. The incident took place many years ago when I was asked to save a chair in the E-Club, by a female soldier who was leaving the table to use the latrine. When she returned, I had several other soldiers working with me, as we had her chair on it's back, on the floor, with two guys performing two-man CPR on it, and we had used items from around the bar (Napkins, straws, swizzle sticks, etc) to splint the chair, run an IV, and cover it in different kinds of bandages. She stood there in shock, asked, "What the hell are you doing?" To which I told her, "You need to back up, ma'am, we are saving your chair!"

Never ask a slightly inebriated combat medic to save your chair. Or even a sober one, as a matter of fact.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Thousand Yard Stare - New Painting


    A brand new piece I did for a Vietnam War novel cover, that I was given a lot of freedom to create. In it I wanted to convey that thousand yard stare so common amongst war weary soldiers. I wanted  to have a soldier, peering through thick jungle vegetation, during monsoon season.

    Now, after I finished the painting, I learned the book I was hired to do the cover for, was actually specifically about the battle at Hue City, during the Tet Offensive. There was no jungle in the book. Not one to be beaten by my own stupidity, I did a variant of the cover, by separately painting a damaged temple wall and window, from Hue, and then, once done, adding it as a new layer, over my original painting, so the Marine is now peering through the damaged temple window. I still am keeping the original jungle painting, for my own gallery and displays.  I am just really fond of it. My brother Steven served as a marine in Vietnam, and he served as an inspiration for this piece. So, I guess that is why.


Below is a great photo of my brother Steve and his buddy John Green, in Vietnam, 1970.









Friday, August 29, 2014

New Cover art for Josh Becker's "True" World War II novel

Cover art I painted for my friend Josh Becker's new "true" novel about Pearl Harbor, called Day of Infamy.


I am very proud of this cover.

Visit Josh's site at BeckerFilms.com